Beyond the classroom, most adults never have to sweat reciting the Pythagorean theorem from memory, much less put such an equation to use in daily life. But what about calculating your tip on a dinner bill — without a calculator? This scenario is a bit more plausible in daily life. And if it elicits some anxiety within you, well, you’re in good company.
Math anxiety has been described as the “feeling of tension, apprehension or even dread that interferes with the ordinary manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems.” That means the presence of anxiety itself, often accompanied by intrusive thoughts or doubts, can inhibit your mental processing regarding arithmetic, even if you have a handle on the math skill. Physical symptoms can include increased heart rate, clammy hands, upset stomach and lightheadedness.